St. John's Holds Off Notre Dame Comeback to Post 8-7 Victory in BIG EAST Men's Lacrosse Semifinal

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VILLANOVA, PA ¬- No. 4 seed St. John's withstood a late rally and upset No. 1 seed Notre Dame 8-7 in the BIG EAST Men's Lacrosse Championship semifinal, held at Villanova Stadium on May 3. The Red Storm will advance to play the winner of the second semifinal, No. 3 Syracuse. The final will be played on May 5 at noon ET and televised live on ESPNU.

The Red Storm jumped out to a big lead, taking an 8-3 advantage into the fourth quarter, but the Irish mounted a comeback, storming into the fourth quarter with four goals. All-BIG EAST First Team selection Kieran McArdle, who led the BIG EAST in scoring during the regular season with 49 points, had three goals and four points to lead the Red Storm in the victory.

St. John's improves to 8-6 on the season. Notre Dame went undefeated in league play this season, posting a 6-0 record. The loss is the Irish's second of the season, as they fall to 11-2.

Sophomore Colin Keegan put St. John's on the board first, as he scored the first goal of the game three minutes in, off an assist from McArdle. Three minutes later, McCardle scored to put the Red Storm ahead 2-0.

After a Notre Dame timeout, the Irish responded as junior Pat Cotter netted a pass from sophomore freshman Tyler Brenneman to put the Irish on the board. Freshman Conor Doyle scored 30 seconds into the second quarter to knot the score 2-2.

St. John's took only a minute to move back into the lead as McArdle scored his second goal of the game. Adding his third shortly after, he gave the Red Storm a 4-2 lead. His first goal came off an assist from All-BIG EAST Second Team selection Terence Leach. Senior Harry Kutner scored as well to complete the Red Storm's 3-0 run which gave St. John's a 5-2 lead heading into the locker room for halftime.

McArdle kept the run going in the second half, scoring two minutes in to make it four-straight goals from St. John's for a 6-2 advantage.

The Irish broke the scoring drought with a goal from sophomore Westy Hopkins, who cut the deficit to three, but sophomore Ryan Fitzgerald and Leach each scored goals to put St. John's ahead 8-3 heading into the final quarter.

Notre Dame junior Ryan Foley and Hopkins found the back of the net with two quick goals in the fourth, cutting the Red Storm lead to 8-5 with just over 12 minutes remaining.

With 5:04 remaining, Doyle made it a two-goal game and Hopkins scored his third goal of the game with just under three minutes left to bring Notre Dame within one.

Senior Bobby Smith had a fast break down the field off the faceoff, but his shot was stopped by St. John's goalie Jeff Lowman.

Notre Dame's John Kemp, first team all-conference selection and BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Year, made seven saves. Lowman, a second team All-BIG EAST honoree, made 13 saves.

Notre Dame held the advantage in ground balls 32-24 and shots 33-27. The Red Storm were 4-of-18 in faceoffs, while Notre Dame was 14-of-18.

"Obviously this is very exciting for us," said St. John's head coach Jason Miller. "I give my guys all the credit in the world for coming in and believing that they could win. I thought we played a great first half and a great third quarter. To their credit, Notre Dame made it interesting in the end. They have a way of doing that so it was to be expected for a little bit, but it was the first time that we have hung on. We're real excited."

St. John's and Notre Dame met earlier this season, with the Fighting Irish posting a 13-6 victory on April 1.


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